tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 23, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
condemn them for eternity as inferior second-class citizens. sometimes doing the right thing happens also to be the right politics. that's "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight on "all in" -- >> what people don't know is that obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country. >> donald trump caught in his own immigration trap, endorsing the president's plan. >> perhaps with a lot more energy. >> trailing in the polls, cancelling speeches, why donald trump is at a perilous cross roads. plus -- >> this is not a photo op issue. >> democratic strategist james carville on disaster politics and how hillary needs to handle donald trump. then, why melania trump is threatening several defamation lawsuits. the new book donald trump is trying to top people from reading.
and a look at the good, the bad and the ugly on the latest on the clinton foundation when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes with donald trump under new management trying to make him over as a serious candidate, we are now witnessing something we've never seen before in this campaign. trump actively struggling to reconcile, the provocative slogans his die-hard slogans love with the policy details that might reassure voters at large he's not too big of a risk. on the signature issue of his campaign, trump has painted himself into an extremely tight corner. he already canceled his big immigration policy speech scheduled for thursday amidst blowback over reports he might be softening his stance and considering legal stance for some undocumented immigration. now the man who launched his campaign, slurring mexican immigrants who called for a wall on our southern border, which mexico will pay for, and depicts undocumented immigrants in this
country as a lawless hoard, terrorizing citizens, he appears to embrace elite republican orthodoxy and obama policy administration, whether he knows it or not. it was his insistence that all 11 million undocumented immigrants, living in the u.s. would have to be deported. >> tell me the how. are you going to have a massive deportation force? >> you're going to have a deportation force. and you're going to do it humanely. they came from a certain country. they'll be sent back. we have to make a whole new set of standards, and when people come in -- >> you're going to split up families, you're going to deport children. >> no, no, we'll keep the families together, but they have to go. >> what if they have no place to go? >> we will work with them. they have to go. >> trump pointed to a program
under eisenhower that depicted hundreds of mexican workers, calling, operation wetback. >> i like ike. i like the expression. i like ike. moved a million and a half illegal immigrants out of this country. you don't get nicer. you don't get friendlier. they moved a million and a half people out. we have no choice. >> all that happened a long time ago, during a very different campaign. now after a stretch of catastrophic blunders, trump is struggling to catch up to hillary clinton in the polls and his new campaign manager, kellyanne conway has a strategy to get back on track -- quote, pivot to substance. >> when we put it on all on the field, where people saw the difference substantively, than win a campaign based on style. >> this brings us to trump's interview with bill o'reilly on the exact staub substantive
details conway was talking any and almost in realtime he seemed to be climbing the learning curve on immigration policy. >> the actual seizure of human beings, taking them from their homes and putting them in a detention center so their illegal alien status can be adjudicated. >> you don't have to put them in a detention center. you're the first one to mention detention center. i never even heard the term. i'm not going to put them in a detention center. >> you cited dwight eisenhower. >> that was in 1952. >> he took them out. and so when you cited him as an example of someone that you want to emulate, we think that's the conclusion. >> i said it's something that has been done in a very strong manner. i don't agree with that. i'm not talking about detention centers. >> what are you talking about? in that interview, he laid out a more targeted approach to
deporting undocumented immigrants. >> we're going to obey the existing laws. the existing laws are very strong. the existing laws, the first thing we're going to do, if and when i win, we're going to get rid of all the bad ones, gang members, killers, we have a lot of bad people we have to get out of this country. the police know who they are. >> if that sounds vaguely familiar, it bares more than a passing resemblance to president obama's priority enforcement program, which focused on removing people who pose a danger to public safety. trump acknowledged cribbing from the president's policies. >> as far as everybody else, we're going to go through the process. what people don't know, obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country. bush, the same thing. lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. i'm going to do the same thing and i just said that. >> well, donald trump, who's only been running for the most powerful office on earth for 15 months, may not have known as the president's reputation as
deporter in chief, everyone else with at least a passing interest in this issue, including, notably, family members of those that have been deported, is well aware. later in that same interview, in an exchange on reducing crime in chicago, trump showed how thoughtfully he approached all of the most pressing policy issues of our time. >> i know police in chicago. if they were given the authority to do it, they would get it done. >> how? >> you have -- how? by being very much tougher than they are right now. when i was in chicago, i got to meet a couple of very tough police. i said, how do you stop this? if you were put in charge, to a specific person, do you think you could stop it? he said, mr. trump, i'd be able to stop it in one week. and i believed him a hundred percent. >> did he tell you how he would be able -- >> no, he wants to use tough police tactics. which is okay. >> but you have to have a warrant to arrest people. you can't beat them up.
>> all i know is this. he said, mr. trump, in one week, we could stop much -- >> but he didn't tell you how. >> no, and i didn't ask because i'm not the mayor of chicago. >> representative from the border in el paso. i start with your reaction to what we're seeing happen. you got donald trump in your state for town halls and a rally. wants to give a speech on the border. what do you make of all this? >> i don't know, to be honest with you. i think he is in search of those issues that will stir the greatest amount of anxiety and fear and the poll numbers that will allow him to close the gap with hillary clinton. i was noticing today in a "washington post" article that support for extending the border wall has dropped over the last few months as the rhetoric from the donald trump campaign has increased. so maybe it's a course
correction, reflecting current polling, but it's hard to know with someone whose core beliefs we're unable to find, whose rhetoric has rarely matched the reality and in no place is that more starkly obvious than here on the border in el paso, texas, the safest city in the united states, where we've seen not just a net zero migration from mexico, but a net loss of about 140,000 out-bound migrants in the last three or four years. we have at the u.s.-mexico border, 330,000 apprehensions last year. that compares against 1.6 million in the year 2000. we doubled the size of the border patrol in the last ten years. we're spending $19.5 billion a year to further secure the border. we are long past the point of diminishing returns on this. and perhaps that reality is beginning to catch up with the american public, with the electorate and trump's trying to
change course to try to catch up with the voters. >> well, that's what's so fascinating to me. it's all symbolic. it's never actually been policies from jump. it's about channeling fear and anxiety about immigrants and what they're doing in the country and what the country is becoming. and no place is that clearer than the border wall. i talked to congressman farn hold in your delegation, a different part of the border in southern texas. listen to him. he endorses trump, but this is us in our exchange about the border wall. take a listen. >> you want to put a wall along the whole border with a pretty door? >> i'm a texan. i realize there's rural areas, there's no point in spending the money on the fence. >> thank you. it's a ridiculous idea as any texan will tell you. >> but what you can do is secure the border with technology. >> can you just acknowledge the fact that the texan delegate thinks the idea of a wall is ridiculous. >> correct.
>> thank you! >> for the side of the wall, you can get a predator drone. >> everyone knows it. your congressman said, yes, the wall is ridiculous. it makes you wonder what all this actually is about. if his own supporters don't even support the things that he says are his policy. >> yeah, i can't tell whether it is political genius or republican primary electorate stupidity, but one of the facts that has been lost in this whole debate is that we already have 700 miles of wall, through much of texas and arizona and california. and those of us who live along the border, who understand these issues better than arguably anyone else, will tell you that that wall has not in any way changed for the better our relationship with mexico, our security of our communities, or that of the united states. and in fact, those of us who live along the border, i think,
or at least the majority of us would love to see the wall we have up, start to come down. i think we need to move from a defense posture of defending the border to a posture of pride and celebration of what we have here. an incredibly diverse, safe, wonderful immigrant-filled community, that is the best representation of the united states. no walls needed here. >> congressman, appreciate your time tonight. thank you. joined now by matt mccoveback, texas based republican consultant, and proffer of mexican-american studies, university of texas. victoria, what do you make of this? one of the things i want to be clear is, to me, you can't call this a flip flop, because there was no flip to flop. there was no substance in the first place to then be reversed. >> well, chris, i have to admit, i'm surprised but i'm not. when we were in cleveland at the convention, we saw donald trump double-down on this immigration
rhetoric. and i thought, this is going to be the course he'll take to november. but then i take two steps back and i remember back in 2012, i remember this very clearly, that donald trump did an interview where he was criticizing mitt romney for using the words self-deportation and for being so harsh with regard to immigrants. so what he feels in his heart of hearts, i don't know. but this pattern of flip flopping is not entirely knew for donald trump. i wouldn't be surprised if he flips back to a more conservative stance on immigration in the last 60 days of the campaign. >> yeah, matt, this is what i find so remarkable watching this. in realtime, you're watching this individual discover the policy dilemma of immigration reform that everyone who's worked on it for 20 years has understood extremely well and has caused the electoral defeat of many of the people in the republican party, including poor rick perry, who was destroyed by mitt romney over it, and other people that donald trump bludgeoned to death over it on
precisely these terms. >> yeah, i remember in orlando at the -- one of the debates four years ago, when rick perry made the heartless comment. you could compare that to the softening comment that he made today in a taped town hall which will air on another network tonight. so, look, it's pretty clear to me that trump wanted to run very far to the right on immigration, in the primary. he thought he had a real opportunity to lock down the hardline immigration wing of the party. he had credibility with that wing to begin with, and he really played that issue to the fullest extent. what's also clear to me, he did that through the convention. if you think about it, the time to soften your approach would have been at the convention, when you had the largest television audience you're going to have until the debates. he didn't do that. they've changed the senior team and i think he's been presented with poling that shows him he cannot win the election with 20% or less of the hispanic vote and with 1 or 2% of the african american vote. that's why he's trying now to
pivot, to some extent, to make himself more acceptable to that portion of the electorate. but as it relates to immigration, look, if you support limited government, how big would government have to be to identify, to locate, and to remove 11 or 12 million illegal immigrants across the country. what would it cost? how long would it take? it would be a huge government program that no limited government conservative would ever support. >> and victoria, to matt's point about -- we keep using the term "pivot." to me, the tooth paste is out of the tube on this. this is someone who has -- if you were to identify this individual with one thing, anything, it would be essentially the most restrictionist, hawkish, white nationalist, for lack of a better term, approach to immigration. something tells me voters are not going to allow that to just be etch a sketched away.
>> i think he's going to try to have his cake and eat it too. he needs to stick to the border wall. but i think he feels he can pivot on the deportation issue. and to matt's point, how much this would cost, there are estimates that it would be between 400 and $600 billion to deport all of these folks who are here in the united states illegally. so trump can say, all right, all right, i'm a good businessman. i have business sense. i'm going to recant on my mass deportation, because it would just cost too much for the economy. it would be over a trillion dollar impact. but let's stick to the border wall. so my hunch, if i'm a betting woman, he's going to stick to the border wall and soften on the deportation. >> matt, congratulations, you have just now reinvented mitt romney's immigration policy, essentially. border enforcement and no path to citizenship, which would lead to the conditions of self-deportation. that is mitt romney's 2012 policy. it's the policy limbo the entire
republican party has been trapped in and that has been killing them for a number of years now. >> it is. and, look, as victoria knows all too well, there are so many complicated aspects to the immigration issue, as it relates to the border fence, what do you do in the davis mountains that are 4,000 feet up in the air? how do you put a wall in a river? do you sub divide ranch land on both sides of the border? these are the questions you deal with when you deal with building a fence across the entire border. that's why most people say focus on the urban areas and use personnel among the rural areas. as it relates to the undocumented immigrants here in the country now, what do you do when one family member is illegal and one isn't? do you divide the family? what do you do with children? there's a lot of complicated aspects to it. >> it turns out governing is complicated. matt and victoria, thank you both. still to come, the latest from the clinton foundation as donald trump called for its closure. what the reporting says and what
the foundation actually does, ahead. but first, president obama visited flooded louisiana today. we'll have louisiana's own james carville to talk about his critics and much more just after this two-minute break. ♪ using 60,000 points from my chase ink card i bought all the framework... wire... and plants needed to give my shop... a face... no one will forget. see what the power of points can do for your business. learn more at chase.com/ink
sometimes once the flood water's pass, people's attention span pass. this is not a one-off. this is not a photo-op issue. this is how do you make sure that a month from now, three months from now, six months from now, people still are getting the help they need. >> president obama visited baton rouge today to look at the flooding which is blamed for the death of 13 people and for the displacement of thousands. a report estimates more than 40% of the homes in the baton rouge area are potentially affected. and only about 15% of those homes were insured against flooding. obama toured those affected areas and met with emergency workers and state and local
officials. president obama has been criticized for not cutting short his vacation and visiting last week. joining me now, james carville. new book, we're still right, they're still wrong. i think i had two feelings, this is an optics thing, but i understand how people in the midst of a flooding, the optics would matter. >> i have five siblings in baton rouge. my daughter is starting lsu. i have a nephew in an adjacent parish to baton rouge. i saw james lee witt, said president clinton had a rule, i'm not going anyway until you told me to come. our governor has done a magnificent job, west point honor cadet, army ranger, asked the president not to come, that the resources that would be taken away from what they were
doing, i think people appreciated it. donald trump came, gave a $100,000 check to a church in an area affected by the flood. i think by almost unanimous acclaimation, the federal response has been very good. that's the important thing. i think this guy, craig fugate, who was jeb bush's fema director in florida, a professional disaster by. i think that's important. but it's very serious. these people did not live in a flood plain, they weren't required to have flood insurance. and it's in a very long, drawn-out thing here. but i really don't fault donald trump. i don't fault president obama. i certainly don't fault our governor or the fema response right now. it's just a very, very tragic situation. >> i wanted to check in with you about this craziness in the campaign. one of the things i gotta say, to watch something go from a conspiracy website in the
fringes, the kind of place that said that newtown was a false flag and that 9/11 was an inside job, to go from there to the center of the campaign in basically about seven or eight days. here's rudy guiliani talking about the great hillary clinton health conspiracy theory. take a look. >> several signs of illness by her -- all you gotta do is go online. -- >> her campaign and other people defending her saying there's nothing factual to the claims about her health. and that -- >> go online -- >> that's speculation at best. >> go online, put down hillary clinton illness and take a look at the videos for yourself. >> rudy guiliani, m.d. [ laughter ] well, you know, i don't know what's wrong with him. i'll give my diagnosis, i don't think his brain gets enough blood. >> we don't do remote diagnosis on this show.
>> i'm obviously being comical here. he's just gone down as a bitter, cranky old man and it's kind of a shame. because the guy was really thought of at one time. i don't know what to say. i actually looked up her doctor, her name is lisa, and probably braddock or something like that. she's a board certified internist, graduate of nyu, the head of intern in some hospital, and she says she's healthy and dr. giuliani says not. so make your choice. i can't argue with it. >> i was saying last night on the show, and you're a veteran of many campaigns. we're getting kind of a natural experiment that you can almost never get in -- you can never convince someone in a campaign from one side not to run a campaign and the other side to run a campaign, to test how much campaigns matter, but we're getting that a little bit. we're kinda gonna see like how much do campaigns actually matter? >> because he doesn't have a
campaign. >> he does not have a campaign. >> no. his signature issue was immigration. he announced in june 2015. we're now approaching september of 2016, and he can't get a position paper out. on his signature issue. on the issue that vaulted him to the nomination. that he himself calls his signature issue. and we're working on our position paper. i ain't too sure but that doesn't look too good to me. he sits in his apartment and watches fox tv. his daughter, who is his head adviser, was in croatia for i don't know how long on vacation. it is the strangest thing. and now he's on an apology tour and he's sorry, and now he said president obama deported a lot of people, i'm going to have his policy. i don't think it's a campaign.
i don't think he knows anything about anything. >> so then how do you do debate prep against that? >> you hit our own objectives. you have somebody that plays him, that's watched a hundred hours of tape. and you remind yourself that, you know, you don't have to respond to everything he says. just talk about your things and you know he's going to be -- he doesn't know. joe biden said if, you asked about article 5 of nato, he would have no idea. he doesn't know tim kaine from tom kaine. he has no idea what the nuclear triad is. how do you prepare somebody running for president that doesn't know the difference between a vice presidential nominee and the former governor of new jersey? you have no idea what's coming out of his mouth, so you just say what you want to say. >> thank you very much.
a new book detailing what they've learned about the nominee. those authors join me ahead. ♪ ♪ introduces new, easy-to-swallow tablets. so now, there are more ways, for more people... to experience... complete protection from frequent heartburn. nexium 24hr. the easy-to-swallow tablet is here. the perfect kid-friendly hotel. simple to book which is great for families. finally! whatever captain obvious. save up to 50% during the hotels.com labor day sale. and get an extra 10% off with promo code lastchance.
>> if a publication were to run an unsubstantiated and false report accusing someone of being a sex worker, that seems close to textbook libel. so no surprise that melania trump is threatening to sue "the daily mail" for alleging she did. the statement from melania trump's attorney states that mrs. trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including daly mail among others for making false statements
about her having been an esskort in the 1990s. all statements are false, highly damaging to her reputation and personally hurtful. she understands that news media have certain leeway, but lying about her kpets the pounds of appropriate news reporting and human decency. while melania trump may be on solid legal footing, it seems, from a distance in this case, the context is that she is married to the man who consistently wages war with the media, the one who vowed to open up libel laws to make it easier to sue the media. and today he's attacking a brand-new book about him. but oddly enough the authors of that book got plenty of help from him. the co-authors of "trump revealed" join me next. dotcom superstar. and us, we'll be right there with you, helping with the questions you need answered
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today donald trump attacked a new book that's coming out about him, tweeting, "the washington post" quickly put together a hit-job book on me, comprised of copies of inaccurate stories. don't buy, boring, exclamation point. trump is a candidate that's raled against a dishonest media almost from the start of his campaign. he's pulled credentials of "the washington post" in june, complaining of their coverage. trump regularly attacks the media at his rallies. today trump tweeted one of his classics. it is being reported by virtually everyone, and is a fact, that the media pile-on against me is the worst in
american political history. he sat down for more than 20 hours of interviews with these authors. co-authors of "trump revealed." i think i saw it was jon favreau, speech writer for president obama, saying he was astonished to get 20 hours of time with -- i mean, time is so precious, with a candidate. how did this happen? >> he seemed to have all the time in the world. when i first approached his campaign and said, we're writing a book about their trump and we'd love to have a series of interviews with him, we didn't have very high expectations and in fact, his press secretary said we were profiteering off mr. trump and they would not be cooperating at all. the weekend went by and she was peaches and cream. she had spoken to mr. trump and
he was delighted to cooperate. he invited us up for as much time as we would like. he was good to his word, generous and gracious with his time and he kept extending the interviews by hours. >> this is everything you know about trump and the media, sort of, in public, it's the media are terrible, they're biased, they're no good. but privately, there's nothing the guy loves more than media attention. >> well, he certainly loves to talk about his favorite subject, which is himself. but he was very generous, gracious with his time, and we really did try to do an even-handed, fair book. so in his tweet last night, he talked about a series of stories, it's not a series of stories. it's a full real biography from the family ancestry right up to the republican convention. >> i mean, look, this guy, 15 months, just these 15 months, he's been written about probably more than any other person in the country. over the course of his life, the amount of press that there's been on donald trump is just
staggering. can you learn anything new at this point? >> well, donald trump is the first major party presidential candidate to run for office without having previously held elective office since dwight eisenhower. so as much as he's been a celebrity for decades, he's not been examined. his life has not been knam examined with the same kind of rigor any politician would go through over the course of their careers. so there's all kinds of business deals, his family ancestry, his childhood, what are his values, the principles he operates by. all have gone unexamined, so we've seen this on in the book and he said all i want is a fair and accurate book and that's what we delivered. he may not like the idea that his life is being examined, but that's what politics is all about. voters get to decide what is the character of this person, what does he believe in, why does he
say the things he does? and that's what we examine in this book. >> we were just talking in earlier segments about this white nationalism, playing ftse with the alt-right. his views on race, how much of that is a through line, his views about immigration, race, african americans, throughout sort of the totality of the guy's career? >> well, chris, one of the foundational stories of that donald trump that we tell in detail is the story in 1973, when the federal government sued donald trump, his father and their company for not renting to blacks. they found blacks were being directed to other facilities and sued donald trump and fred trump and donald had to decide, do i fight or do i settle? he met roy cone one night, joe mccarthy's infamous lawyer, convinced donald trump, fight
like hell. so roy cohen filed a $100 million counterclaim against the federal government. lost that right away. eventually they did have to settle the case. so you see some development there and the animus trump has towards the federal government. still thinks that case was unfair. >> there's also this thought, the person of person who has a chip on their shoulder about being seen as one of the elite, that he was sort of new money, that he had sort of not made his way, and you saw that replay in the chip on his shoulder against jeb bush and the establishment and how he's gone about this whole campaign. >> donald trump grew up quite wealthy. his father was a very successful real estate developer in brooklyn and queens. and donald trump from the early part of his life thought of himself as a man of the people. he was closer to the construction workers on the site, the cab drivers, than he was to his fellow wealthy people. and he thought of himself just as we've seen in this campaign,
as a truth teller, a non-pc kind of guy. and you know, you can see in his speech mannerisms in the way he carries himself as a person, he used to hang out in the '70s and '80s, not with some of his fellow executives, but with secured guards in his office. that sort of thing. that's very much a part of his identity, the way he's sort of tried to live down his wealthy background. but, you know, he has lived a very secluded life. and a lot of the kinds of things that people take as racially offensive or as insults are really the kind of language of someone, a white guy growing up in the 1950s, whose language is essentially unchanged since then. and things that he thinks are funny in a don rickles sort of way, come off today as insulting or offensive. >> thank you both. appreciate it. still ahead, as donald trump calls for the closure of the clinton foundation, how the people witness what the foundation has done first hand
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thing 1 tonight, before he was tapped to run as vice president, indiana governor mike pence wasn't exactly well known nationally. immediately after trump picked him to be his running mate, a poll found that 53% of people didn't know enough about mike pence to say he was a good or bad choice. and 76% said the pence pick made no difference on whether they would vote for trump or not. today after a solid month of campaigning on the republican ticket, is mike pence any better known? recent polls suggest yes, but as the governor learned at a pennsylvania barber shop today, it's still a work in progress. >> perfect. >> that's great. >> your name was? >> mike pence. >> mike pence. >> now, your name? we're going to play that again. and you have to see what happens next. that's thing 2, it's coming in 60 seconds.
>> the only reason henry jones opened his barber shop today, because a local state representative asked him for a favor. said he had a friend who needed a hair cut. thus it was that mike pence ended up in the barber's chair, making small talk about grandkids and football as 74-year-old henry jones gave him a quick trim. all standard photo-op stuff until the moment it was over when it became immediately clear no one had told him whose hair he had just cut. >> that's great. >> your name was? >> mike pence. >> mike pence, yes, sir. i'm the governor of the state of indiana. >> okay. >> i'm running for vice president of the united states. >> whoa, man. vice president? >> yes, sir. yes, sir. >> oh, boy. >> i'm running with donald trump. so i'm his running mate. just tapped me a month ago. so just in town doing a rally, campaigning and i heard you were the place to come for a hair
cut. >> oh, boy. >> you're very gracious. >> great, great. good to meet you. give me a handshake again. woo, that's history, i'm telling you. >> we're hoping to make some history. >> okay. ♪ there's no one road out there. no one surface... no one speed... no one way of driving on each and every road. but there is one car that can conquer them all. the mercedes-benz c-class. five driving modes let you customize the steering, shift points, and suspension
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>> well, number one, they should shut it down. number two, they should give the money back to a lot of countries that we shouldn't be taking and they shouldn't be taking money from. >> the clinton foundation is at the center of trump's latest attacks, calling on the clintons to shut down their foundation. and demanding a special prosecutor look into it. >> the amounts involved, the favors done, and the significant number of times it was done require an expedited investigation by a special prosecutor immediately, immediately, immediately. >> this as conservative group released new e-mails showing clinton foundation officials asking favors of clinton staff while she was secretary of
state. >> in one e-mail, foundation official douglas bann writes huma abedin for a meeting with the crown prince of bahrain. also a big donor. a few days later, abedin arranges the meeting after he goes through diplomatic channels. >> a new report giving more fuel to critics shows more than half the people outside the government who met or called clinton when she was secretary of state, donated to the clinton foundation. the clinton campaign is pushing back, calling it grossly unfair and inaccurate. it cherry picked a limited sub set of secretary clinton's schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected with charitable donations to the clinton foundation. clearly she met with more than the amount of people listed in that article. just last week, the clinton foundation announced it would not take money from corporations or foreign entities if hillary clinton is elected president. bill clinton also announced he will step down from his role on
the foundation's board and no longer raise funds for it. but what has gotten lost in all the talk is what is the clinton foundation actually does. supporters say it's improved the lives of millions of people. it's a public charity, funded through donations, spends most of the money it raises on its own programs. clinton foundation operates several different programs focused on a variety of tommics, from climate change, poverty, and pressing public health issues, particularly in the global south. next, to someone who has witnessed the foundation's performance, are pushing back on calls to shut it down.
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>> all the talk of e-mails and access, a number of people who have dealt with the clinton foundation's work first hand have pushed back at the criticism. one of them, laura c., took to twitter, sharing a moving and powerful testament to the work of the clinton foundation. she wrote of the foundation bringing anti-virals to treat children with hiv. yes, there are conflicts of interest, it's complerxcomplex, saying shut it down, understanding that hundreds of thousands of innocent people would die is irresponsible and i for one am grateful the clinton foundation saved the lives of some congolese kids who have
grown up to be amazing adults. >> author of the book american maelstrom joining me now, and also senior investigator for international business times. david, you've done reporting for your publication about possible or perceptual conflicts between donors on the one side, and thing of the secretary of state did, but part of the central issue is, how are donations to a foundation corrupting? when you think about -- when you center the work of what the foundation does, which it actual does she's good things, the story about corruption seems to me complicated by, if someone's giving money to get kids in africa antiretroviral drugs, it that's not the same as giving to her campaign, per se. >> there's a couple things. one the clinton foundation is soliciting these contributions, asking for contributions from people who have or had business before hillary clinton's state department. so they're asking for something while secretary clinton was in a position of public power.
so that's one potential conflict. let's also remember that the foundation, it has done by all reviews, it has done a lot of good work, but let's also remember it's built a political profile for the clintons. it's not like they don't get anything out of the clinton foundation. so i think that's an important part. and then, again, to go back to this, there's a question of access. what are the donors getting? i mean, these are not stupid donors. these are sophisticated donors. ing from -- foreign governments. if you're going to argue that the saudis are giving money to the clinton foundation because they're great humanitarians, that's kind of a ridiculous argument. i mean, really, you have to ask, what do the donors think they're getting, and why do they continue to give? >> my sense is you think this is essentially overblown, that there's no actual smoke here. so what is the response to that? why is the saudi government
giving the clinton foundation money if not to essentially purchase access or influence? >> i suppose that's part of the reason. it's maybe also just to burnish their international reputation. but the fact is, if you're going to say that these donations led to access at the state department, you have to prove that happened. and every story i've seen proves the opposite. donors go trying to get help with things and they're rebuffed or not responded to. and so there is no additional access that the donation provides to them. so i'm not sure what the scandal is actually here. i keep reading more and more, it seems to me clinton donors are able to send e-mails to huma abedin that deon't get responde to. i'm not sure that's a scandal. >> so, david, on this point, so this is, it seems to me, part of the crux of the issue. if you made two categories, prominent global citizens, or
nations that gave money to the clinton foundation, it's a huge list, right? and then prominent global citizens who might meet with the secretary of state or heads of state, those are big lists. they have a lot of people between them. and sometimes it seems to me like the a.p. story talked about a bangladeshi banker. it's mohammed eunice who won the nobel prize. it's not crazy that he's meeting with the secretary of state. the fact that he might have given money to the clinton foundation doesn't strike me as the reason he's getting that meeting in any plausible scenario. >> well, we can't know. your presumption is that it wasn't because of money, but we can't know and i think that's the key point here. when businesses and foreign governments have business with the state department, the question becomes is there a conflict of interest? if the secretary of state's family foundation is soliciting contributions from those same people, who have business with her office. we reported in our series about
arms deals. foreign governments gave huge money to the clinton foundation at precisely the time that those foreign governments saw a huge increase in armed exports authorizations from the clinton-led state department. was there access bought? were the arms deals bought from that contributions? we don't know. but a perception or a potential conflict was interest was enough to say that's not something that people in government should be involved in. >> -- that was signed between the clinton foundation and the obama administration that allowed for the clinton foundation to continue to exist, to allow for people who have given money to the clinton foundation to actually have interaction with the state department. i mean, there's a memorandum, a document that the clinton foundation and the state department had to adhere to, and they did. so to argue conflict of interest, when there was an agreement to prevent any sort of conflict from occurring. is crazy to me.
>> there were agreements between obama officials. obama and clinton officials, so we should not -- >> you can look that up! [ all speak at once ] >> your argument is that because the president signed a memorandum of agreement with his own aide, therefore journalists shouldn't scrutinize in, the public shouldn't ask questions, we should say that government officials with business with corporations and foreign governments, we shouldn't say they may be a problem, just because the obama administration signed a memo between itself absurd. that is an absurd argument. >> you're ignoring the rules that exist to guide interaction, you're missing a big part of the story. >> let me just say this. to me, the argument on the perception end seems the strongest argument. which is, yes, you are going to be in a condition where there's a plausible case for conflict of interest, right? and that to me seems to be ultimately what is being acknowledged in the announcements that are happening now, which is that, yes, i don't
think the clinton folks think they did anything wrong. i don't think they sold the saudis arms because of a saudi donation, but i think they have come around to believes, based on their announcements, if she is president of the united states, you cannot run things this way, precisely because of this back and forth. thank you both. that's "all in" for this evening. good evening, rachel. >> i got a kinetic charge from that. my blood pressure got up to healthy levels. well done, my friend. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. once upon a time a popular, spunky, slightly iconoclastic democrat in congress, from oregon, he got an unexpectedly well founded slick challenge in the general election. this happened in 2010, and it turned out to be a fascinating story. the reason the slickness and well funded nature of this congressman's challenge, the reas